Family Nightmares

December 2, 2008 -

John Heald

Good Evening everyone.
It’s another freezing cold day here in the UK and I love it because I get to wear my old leather jacket, light a real fire and can say “bugger off” to the man with a beard who sneered at me when he saw me driving my polar-bear-killing machine earlier today.

Anyway, in a few minutes we will chat about family vacations but first………and with a large dollop of apology for being late ….here are the replies to the questions marked “John, please reply”… we go:


Dear John (please reply),
We both hope you are feeling better and that you enjoyed your day off! Sorry to bother you with this but we need a referral to the proper person at Carnival who could help us. My husband and I had a small issue at the Cloud 9 Spa when on our cruise. We contacted Carnival upon return from our cruise and spoke to a very nice lady named Jessica who gave us the address and fax number for Steiner. We have faxed and then mailed a letter with supporting docs to them but have never had an answer. Would you direct us to someone at Carnival who may be able to help us get to the proper person at Steiner? Thanks, John, for your help! Janet


Hello Janet,

Thanks for the e-mail.  Although I don’t know the details of your particular situation, you should have at least received a reply to your correspondence. I only speak for myself here but I think this is just not right. Anyway, please send me a detailed report of your concerns and I will personally forward them to my friends at Steiner who operate our brilliant spa on board. Looking forward to hearing from you. My best to you and your family, John



Dear John & Heidi,


Sorry we haven’t corresponded for a while, we have both been flat out like lizards drinking and have not been able to keep up with the blog. However just noticed you mentioned cards and gifts which means you must have published your PO Box and we have somehow missed it, could you please let us have it ASAP? Glad to hear you are enjoying your break and that Heidi is well even if somewhat tired. Please stop looking at Lisbeth’s bottom or you may end up in the dog house “again.” We hear a Holland America ship is heading down this way next year or 2010, anything happening with Carnival?
Suzanne & Lisa

Hello Suzanne and Lisa,

Great to hear from my friends Down Under. I am glad you have paused from your busy lives to stop by the blog thingy. Heidi is doing great and we both appreciate your kind words. Yes, HAL will be sending you a ship and like you, I have a dream that one day we will see a Carnival ship heading into Sydney Harbor. The P.O. Box details are now at the side of the blog thingy. We thank you both for your kindness. Please make sure you include your address so we can send you a Christmas card. Best wishes to you all, John


Joy Noovotny

Hi John
Just got off the Splendor. Nice ship. Didn’t care for the pink polka dots but the lounges and bars and dining areas were very nice. Debarkation was a mess. They asked the Concierge Club members to be in the Splendor lounge at 6:15 am. I know no one can leave until customs clears us. We were waiting in the lounge and they finally let us sit in the chairs. Customs cleared us about 6:45 am. Then we were told we had to go to 0 deck. Try and get an elevator? Everyone was coming down and it took us till 8:30 am to get on an elevator. We finally rode one up and then back down. My husband has a walker and had a hard time standing that long… I have been on 18 Carnival cruises and never had a problem like this. Sorry to vent but all in all the cruise was very nice.


Hello Joy,

Obviously, I wasn’t on board so it is hard to comment on the debarkation at the end of your cruise. However, it seems to me that there is room for improvement and I have received the same comments from some other guests who were on the same voyage. These include Jo and Dave Myerly who wrote me a detailed report with the same observations as yours. The most important thing is for me to apologize and promise you that this is unusual and something we must continue to improve on. I should mention that we are under the rules and regulations of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and we can only start to disembark guests upon their say so. However, the organization on board is totally our responsibility and there should be no excuses for the facts that you have given us. Please know that I have sent yours and the other guest’s comments to the hotel director and cruise director so that they know what happened and so they can find ways that we can improve.  Please accept my apologies once again and I am glad to see you enjoyed the cruise and the crew. Please keep reading the blog thingy and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you. Cheers, John



Stephanie, no need to post this on the blog…thanks!

Hi John and Heidi!
I thought you two might be interested in this link to a great webcam in Ft. Lauderdale, in case you ever wanted to check in on the Splendor or Freedom. Heck, the QM2 was even in port yesterday! It’s nice because you can control the camera and zoom in on the ships. It’s located right along the inlet. It’s

The Freedom’s there today. Also if you’d like to see who’s in port when, here’s a link for the Harbor Master

Just thought you might enjoy it…it’s very addictive! As always, our best to the three of you!


Thank you, Popcorngal, for this link to the Port Everglades webcam. I did not know about this before you sent this to me and have been looking at it a lot recently. The other day the port was full of Carnival Corporation ships from Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess and of course, Carnival. I am sure Mr. Arison was very proud and it was great to see the family together. Thanks for the kind wishes which the three of us return to you. Cheers, John


Robin in New York

John–this blog was definitely interesting–it just kept “running on and on!” (get it?) I TOLD you that you needed that nice American toilet paper I never got to you.
JOHN PLEASE ANSWER QUESTION: when is there going to be more information on the Dream cruise out of NYC in November 2009? I really need to start wearing my husband down on the idea of booking that…..


Hello Robin,

How are things in the Big Apple? Have you ever eaten at Chef Kevin’s restaurant? It will be great to see you on board the Carnival Dream and I will be working on plans for this and the bloggers cruise in early December very soon. The fare codes are ready and I do hope your name will be one I see on the passenger manifest. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed the thrill of sailing into and out of New York and I look forward to doing so with many of our blogging friends next year. Best wishes to you all, John



Hi John:

John, Please reply.

Thanks for the photos and information on the QE2.

About 12 years ago we were in Bristol and saw the SS Great Britain. It was in the drydock that it was built in back in the 1840s. Unbelievable right? As you relate it was hauling coal in the Falklands, and ended up leaking and beached. Some Brits got together, bought the salvage, put it on a raft and towed it back to its birthplace. When we were there it was still fairly rough, although I recall a large dining room just below the main deck. It was a combination sailing ship and steam ship as I recall, and the first with an iron hull and a screw type propeller.

The other thing that stuck in my mind was you could stand on the deck and look over and see into a glass blowing factory. There were men just like in Murano with the long pipes the furnaces, and the glowing glass blobs on the end that they were inflating and shaping.

I think now you can walk down into the dry-dock and see the hull of the ship up close, as well as tour the interior of the ship. Go walk up the gangway of this historic ship while you have some free time! Question for you, what is the difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner? Does Cunard operate both?


Hello Bill,

I had no idea that the SS Great Britain has been salvaged. That is absolutely brilliant news. It brings joy to my heart. I shall have to research where she is now. What is the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship, you asked. What a great question. I want to make sure I give you the best answer to this so I am going to ask my friend Peter Shanks from Cunard and Carnival U.K. to answer this question. We will get back to you soon. Cheers, john



Private to john please:

Dude! Thank you so much for the wine in the dining room. It was enjoyed and you were toasted. The Splendor is splendid! I love that ship. I love the pink, I love every inch of it. Amazing ship. Hugs to Heidi from us! Smiles, Bonnie and Prince Charlie


Hello Bonnie and Prince Charlie,

Welcome home. I am glad you loved everything about the ship and we both wish we could have been there to share the toast with you. We will see you soon.  Cheers, John and Heidi



John, as I told you yesterday, I love Carnival and have been on 14 Carnival cruises BUT the sausage at the breakfast buffet is terrible. Can you please answer me about doing something about it? Always floating in grease and looks like something my shih tzu would poo. he he



Hello Tom,

Thanks for your opinion about the breakfast sausages and I will forward this to the senior director in hotel operations but remember food tastes are very subjective and our food generally gets very high marks.  Nonetheless, this is certainly that it is something we can improve on. Our F&B department will look at your comments and I will let you know what they advise. I see you are a loyal supporter of Carnival Cruise Lines and for that we are very grateful.

Cheers, John


Eric R Thayer

If one were to book back-to-back cruises on the same ship, are you required to do the life boat drill twice? Eric


Hello Eric,

What a good question. The answer is yes. We are required under international maritime law and U.S. Coast Guard that all guests attend the boat drill, regardless of how many cruises they have completed. I know when you fly a lot; you do tend to switch off when the flight attendants conduct the safety drill. However, on board the ships it is important that everyone attends. Hope this helps and please let me know if you need any other advice.




Jake Silverberg

Hello John, (please reply)
I just wanted to know if you could give me a detailed idea of how to write the blog for the contest. Do we pretend we are writing as you? Do we make a list? I’m lost so if you could help me out it would be great. Thanks
Jake S.


Hello Jake,

As far as the contest is concerned. Just close your eyes and pretend you are the cruise director of any Carnival ship. What activities and shows would you host on a day at sea? Just write them down and I am sure your answers will be brilliant. Best of luck mate. Cheers, John


Shawn Granberg

John Please Respond:
To the three of you… I like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I also wanted to let both of you know that I will be sailing the Carnival Splendor next year in Oct. Any help would be nice to know John… My sailing date is 10/18/09. I had the chance to meet you around 11 years ago on the Carnival Triumph in Nov. of 1997.


Hello Shawn,

Congratulations on booking the Carnival Dream. Why not send me a list of your questions as and when you are ready and I will be here to answer them for you. I am going to visit the ship in a couple of week’s time and I promise you, she is going to be astonishing. I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers, John


Mike and Jet


Please reply –

We made our reservations for the Dream on the 12-3-09 cruise hoping it was going to be the bloggers cruise and now that it has come to pass – how do we get the “bloggers code” to pass along to Carnival so we may partake in all of the bloggers festivities? You were the CD on the Splendor for our Baltic cruise this past August and I must say you are the best! My husband and I have never laughed so hard in our entire life. The night you told the “bed time story” and your bloomers came down – I thought we were going to pee our pants we laughed so hard. That cruise had to be the most wonderful cruise we have been on (it was our 8th) – mainly due in part to you and Heidi. Heidi led the excursion team like a well-oiled machine – we never had one problem in any port. Thank you both for bringing joy to many, many people through the years. Looking forward to the Dream 12-3-09 only 372 days to go!! Best wishes for a wonder Thanksgiving,

Jet and Mike


Hello Mike, Hello Jet,

I am so happy to hear that you have booked the bloggers cruise aboard the Carnival Dream. I will ask Stephanie, Tom or Tony to send you the fare code. Thank you for the compliments, especially the ones for Heidi. I could never have run the department without her, especially with her brilliant work distributing the excursions. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Best wishes, John


Krista Hansen

Urgent – Please reply.
Greetings, John, Heidi, and adorable baby yet to be born. I honestly don’t know where to begin. I’ve been lurking at your blog for about four months now, and am in awe of your dedication to the blog, and to Carnival. If you have a few moments to spare, I’d like to share how special Carnival is to our family. About 10 years ago, my husband and I booked a cruise with our best friends. We had an absolute BALL! You were our cruise director on that very first cruise, the Glory. My husband and I had recently found out that we couldn’t have children, and boy did we need that cruise on the Fun Ship to take our minds off our pain. Fast forward to the year 2001, when we adopted our angel, Alexandria Hope Hansen. Her birth mother selflessly, and with much determination, handed over her most precious newborn daughter to us, putting all her hopes and dreams for her/our daughter, into our hands(oh, and we have an open adoption, and our Angel’s birth mom is a huge part of our life). Fast forward to the year 2004. My husband and I had extolled the wonders of a Carnival cruise to all our family members, and no one believed us. You see, both of our families had traveled the world, and lived in many countries. Posh, how could a cruise be a good vacation? Well, we found out that my father had terminal cancer, and we wanted to do something memorable for the entire family. We took matters into our own hands, and booked a cruise, on the Destiny (how appropriate) for our families. We paid (and didn’t give anyone the opportunity to refuse) for ten of our family members to go on a Carnival Cruise. I can not begin to tell you the memories our family has from that cruise. My dad, who was the biggest “posh posh” against a cruise, immediately came home from that cruise, and began looking into a Carnival cruise to Alaska. Much to our extreme sadness, my father passed away 6 months after that cruise. I can not begin to tell you how much that Carnival cruise meant to us…the pictures, the happy memories, got us all through the worst time of our lives. Fast forward three years, to 2007. At the age of 39, I find out that I have stage 3 breast cancer. A death sentence to our family. Well, I’m here to tell you that after a year and a half of chemo, radiation, a bilateral mastectomy, and reconstruction surgery….I’m still here, and still feisty! So, what does one do, in our family, to celebrate life…..why, go on a Carnival cruise! We are booked on the December 20-28 Carnival Freedom cruise, with many family members, and plan to celebrate life, as we always do. I can’t tell you how many happy memories we have shared on a Carnival cruise. Carnival is our “happy place.” I know all this sounds sappy, but Carnival really is “my happy place,” and has gotten me through many difficult times in my life. I’m so thrilled that this Christmas will be a true celebration of life, on the best fun ship in the world! I might not have much hair, and might be kind of bloated from the steroids in the chemo, but gosh darn it – we’re gonna celebrate like I’m angelinamadonnacourntybrittneyjennifer frikk’n rock star! Now, the reason for my please reply… (If you’re still reading, and not snoozing by now…) two things. Could you please let me know who our cruise director will be on the Carnival Freedom Christmas cruise, and also if you know what he/she would really like from home…we would love to be able to give this hard working, wonderful individual, a Christmas present. Also, there are about 12 of us family members going on this cruise, and we all booked our vacations separately. Although we asked to be seated together…I’m not sure that we are. John, our family wants to thank you, Heidi, and the entire Carnival family, for all you’ve given our family. May you have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season at home with your loved ones? Thanks for listening to my long-winded message….let me end with…We appreciate you. All my best, Krista


Hello Krista,


It is hard for me to know what to say after such an emotional story. First of all, let’s start with my deepest sympathies at the loss of your father and at the same time I want to pass on my exuberance at your positive fight against breast cancer. When you said Carnival is my Happy Place it gladdens my heart. This is what we strive to be. A place where people escape from the troubles of every day life. I am sure you have many happy memories of your father’s time on board the ship and I hope the family will have new memories during your forthcoming Carnival Freedom cruise. Your cruise director will be the brilliant Todd Wittmer and I have just forwarded the maitre’d a request for your family to eat together as you requested. I am sure this will be no problem at all. I also took the liberty of forwarding your comments to the management of Carnival, who like me, will be extremely happy to read your wonderful words. Enjoy your cruise, I wish I could be there with you. Best to all, John




Please Respond

I am totally confused on the dates of the Bloggers for 2009 cruises that you are planning.
I thought it was the trans-Atlantic, then it was Dec 9 from New York and Now I understand Dec 3, 2009? Can you or Stephanie post the definite dates that you will be on the Dream for the Bloggers Cruises?
Take Care
the Tuckers
Arnold & Elizabeth


Hello Elizabeth,

Sorry for the confusion and let me just confirm the bloggers cruises are as follows:

Carnival Fantasy: Feb 7- 12, 2009 (Fare Code: PBL ) 

Carnival Dream: Nov. 15-23, 2009 (Fare Code: PBL)

Carnival Dream: Dec. 3-12, 2009 (Fare Code: PBL)

The trans-Atlantic is not going to be a bloggers cruise but I will be there writing about the crossing experience. I hope we will get to see each other on one of these voyages. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Cheers, John


Terry and Danielle

Hello the Healds! John: please reply- you mention the rock the boat cruises on the Destiny in January, yet I do not see any mention on the website. We cruise on the Jan 12 eastern Caribbean with you; any chance that trip is one of them? We look forward to cruising with you for the fourth time; together we inaugurated the leg end and the freedom. Terry and Danielle from lovely Prince Edward Island


Hello Terry and Danielle,

I am not sure of the Rock the Boat voyages but I will check these out and will get back to you very soon. Regardless, looking forward to seeing you and I promise to make it as much fun as we had on the Carnival Legend and Carnival Freedom together. See you soon, Cheers, John



Hey John:
I was so excited to here that you are going to be on the same cruise as my all time favorite band in the world Lynyrd Skynyrd! Those guys can truly tell you a story or too and they are all true. I just had a client return from the Carnival Ecstasy out of Galveston. I just wanted to let you know that she had the most fab-u-lous time! She and her husband and daughter were first time cruisers and had nothing but high praise for the staff, food, accommodations, entertainment and Camp Carnival. Her only complaint was she felt rushed in Cozumel because there was so much to do and see. Her biggest praise though was truly for the food and staff of Carnival Cruise Lines. I do have a question for you though…what ships have you not been on? Also, if you had your choice of any ship in the fleet what would be your “dream ship” and why. Please reply when you have the chance. Thanks again to everybody at Carnival for making my clients experience one to remember! All my best to you, Heidi and “thingy” take care and Rock on.


The perfect screen name for someone who loves Lynyrd Skynyrd. They are a great band and combine them with a Carnival Destiny cruise and it will be a vacation to remember. Thank you for your comments and I am so glad your clients had a great time on the Carnival Ecstasy, despite there not being enough time in Cozumel. See you soon and thank you for your support. John



Hello John got a ? If u could answer before sun when we leave for our cruise. Will I be able to use my cell phone on the ship? Its sprint.


Hello Tracy,

Yes, you can use your cell phone during your Carnival Spirit cruise, however, do check with your provider as to what the charges will be. Have a great time.

Cheers, John



Hello John, Heidi and Thingy 2, oh! and Stephanie

Too bad about the adoption thingy, but you now have your own bundle of joy to look forward to, all the best with that. Just a hello and John please reply! We are traveling on the Splendor, and I know you will not be there, bugger!! I hope I can meet Jaime at least? We are traveling on 12/13/08 17DAYS! We have 9 cabins between us, it’s my Sister in-laws Anniversary cruise 25 years yahoo!! I have been to the Carnival web page and I see that the full list of Shore Eursions…Excursions,…Oh bugger, you know what I mean ;-P are not there yet, I called them and they say they are in the process of getting them up but that was four days ago. Can you please check into this for us? I would also like to do something nice for my Sister any suggestions? I’m not sure if here husband is going to have the cabin decorated or not and I don’t want to ask him as this would ruin the surprise if I did, you know what I mean. My father will be joining us and this will be his first ever cruise and he is excited. I can provide the Cabin numbers if you would like, let me know. All that aside the Blog Thingy 1 is great! Always interesting to read about CCL and the behind the seans,… senes,… oh not again bugger, stuff.  Tex sounds like a great guy, looking forward to meeting Duck?…. Mallard? Chicken?… Swan?… Oh right! Goose! on the 12/13/08 Cruise. Till we read again.

All the best to you and Heidi and Thingy 2 (soon to be Thingy 1) and of course to the Spectacular Stephanie, and the rest of the Blog team and the other Bloggers out there.

James from Georgetown ON, Canada, getting cold out there, snow is here, …bugger! Need a Cruise


Hello James,

How wonderful that you are sailing for 17 days on the Carnival Splendor. I just checked the Web site and all the excursions are now there, however, if there are any missing or ones you have questions about, please let me know as soon as you can. You are going to have a great time and why not send me your sister’s cabin number and let’s see if we can organize a surprise.

Best Wishes and I wish I could be with you.



Denver Hartman

Dear John
me and my wife our going on the carnival triumph dec 7th to the eastern Caribbean and it is our 8th year anniversary do they do anything special for that special occasion

Your friend

Denver & Janice Hartman


Hello Denver and Janice,

Just wanted to wish you a wonderful cruise and look out for a little anniversary surprise from me.

Best Wishes, John


Shawn Granberg

Please Respond

Hi John… My best friend and I are sailing the Splendor next year on the Oct.18th sailing date to the MEXICAN RIVIERA and we are wondering if you might be on the cruise or who might be the CD and any suggestions on what types of shore tours we should do for fun?


Hello Shawn,

I wish I could be with you for your Carnival Splendor cruise but unfortunately I will not be there. With regards to the shore excursions, I will ask the Cruise Director Goose about these early next year once the ship has been there for a few weeks. So, please remind me in early March and I will make sure I give you a detailed list of what to do. Cheers Mate, John


Jim Eakins

Blogger Cruise Question

John, thank-you ever so much for your most enjoyable blog. We are relatively new to cruising and even newer to reading blogs and I must say we look forward to each of your daily posts. My question, good sir, is in regards to Blogger Cruises. Are said cruises only for individuals who have their own blog or are those of us who simply enjoy reading your blog also allowed to join the festivities?


Hello Jim,

Welcome to the blog thingy. I am so glad you have found us and I bid you a warm welcome. The bloggers cruises are for anyone. They are for people who love to cruise, meet new friends and who have gathered here on the World Wide Web thingy to read this humble blog. The cruises included special activities, events and loads of free gifts and a chance for us all to be together. I hope to meet you on one of them and if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know. Cheers, John



That’s it for now. I will reply to the next batch at the beginning of next week. Remember, if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know by marking your comments:

John, please reply


As absolutely bugger all happened to me yesterday apart from being bollocked by Heidi for not changing the toilet roll after I had used the last slice and I thought I would talk to you about why you should take your family on a Carnival cruise. You see, with the Thingy on the way I have started to look at family vacations and started to realize just why millions of families have enjoyed the brilliant hospitality, service and fun that is a Carnival Fun Ship.

Let me explain.

One of my favorite films ever, if I’m being honest, is ‘National Lampoon’s American Vacation’. If I’m ever actually asked, then I reply with more sophisticated choices such as ‘The Godfather’ or ‘Southern Comfort’). The truth, however, is that I love this light comedy starring Chevy Chase traveling across the USA with his dysfunctional family for a holiday at Wally World, a nightmarish Disney-type destination.

I once went to Wally World well, it wasn’t called Wally World, but Great Wolf something or other………….. and it was hell. Great Wolf Lodge I think it was called and it proclaimed to be the “biggest indoor water-park in North America.” Like all these types of places, they are designed with children in mind and completely ignore the needs of the parents. This means that the kids can’t get enough of it and you see the looks on the parents faces when they have to queue up for the Mega-Vortex for the 25th time.

Heidi and I went with a Carnival colleague JB and his two great kids some years ago and I knew that I was going to hate the place the moment I arrived. In the main lobby a fat man with a fake beard was “entertaining” children by pretending to be a “moose hunter” and telling loud and dull stories about the “wilderness” the closest to which he’d ever gone was surveying the arid wasteland of his entertainment career.

The parents had to join a long and winding queue to check in and hand over our money ……… lots of it. All around us were robotic bears, wolves and trees singing cheesy songs. Every three minutes or so, large groups of wet tourists, clad only in tight Speedos, wandered through the throng, heading to their next adventure pausing only to take yet another photo using the latest waterproof camera.

When we were eventually checked in we roamed the labyrinthine corridors trying to find our room we’d gone for a “Wolf Den” and the kids were very excited about it. Upon opening the door, there was an immediate family division.

JB’s kids, rushed excitedly into the plastic “wolf” enclosure, complete with bunk beds. Heidi, JB and I looked despairingly around the tiny, dark area that was to be our home from home for the next 2 days. I felt suicidal and wept quietly in the tiny, dark bathroom.

Meanwhile, the kids were changed into their swimming stuff and demanding to be taken to the Waterpark. This was my job, so I dried my tears, donned my trunks, and, since there were no towels or robes in the room, braved the walk through the packed lobby, down some stairs and into the Waterpark. It was an impressive sight a massive room the size of four football fields, filled with thousands of screaming children and some very large fathers holding huge plastic glasses of beer. ………I was a big lad but was probably the smallest there.

All around this vast expanse stretched colored pipes and tunnels through which little people were whizzing and sliding and screaming. The smell of chlorine was intense and my eyes started stinging but there was no time for pain we had to queue. Over and over we lined up for rides in which sadistic attendants spun you down long, dark tunnels into great bowls where you spun round until you were eventually flushed out into the huge lake that flowed beneath….I felt like a big number two.

Every ride was terrifying for me but not for the right reasons. I couldn’t get that urban myth out of my head the one about some nutter Blu-Tacking razor blades on the inside of the tunnels. Every time I hurtled down one I braced myself for something slicing through my buttocks. I finally gave up and found an outdoor hot tub where children were not allowed. It was about the size of your average living room but it seemed that every desperate father in the place had slipped through the plastic flaps that lead you into it. It would have made a fabulous picture. A thousand depressed dads squeezed together in a steaming hot tub outside an aircraft hangar full of their screaming children being fired down colored tubes. It was almost Dante-esque.

In the evening we went to see Niagara Falls. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one who peered a little bit too long and hard at the barrels that people had used to go down the falls. It seemed a fitting way to go.

I am sure to many parents this place is a respite from the day to day tribulations of looking after kids and yes……….the kids loved it. However, the nighttime entertainment was non-existent and all JB and I could talk about was that for roughly the same price these families could have had a four-day cruise. Their kids would have had a slide and pools and fun and games and the parents could have left them in the safest environment possible. And while the kids were at Camp Carnival enjoying an evening of games, movies and fun Mum and Dad could be watching a show, enjoying dinner and a drink and a dance and oh yes………the casino. I was at Wally Wolf World back in 1990 something before Evolutions of Fun, water and splash parks, big screens and, of course, Circle C for younger teens and Club O2 for 15 – 17 year olds.

OK, Wally Wolf World Lodge was bad but for me there is one similar place that takes first prize for being hell on earth………….Euro Disney in Paris, France. Now, obviously, Disney does things very well and their Florida parks are astonishing……………oh by the way, I have heard there is bugger all for parents to do on Disney Cruise Line……… this true? Anyway, back to the parks and while the awesomeness (is that a word?) of the Florida parks is unquestionable ….. Euro Disney is utterly and totally a huge piece of “merde.”

Heidi and I went during the Gulf War II and friends at Carnival said I shouldn’t go to Disneyland Paris because I’d be supporting the French in these difficult times……..I didn’t want to go and I agreed that supporting the cheese-eating surrender monkeys was totally hypocritical …. oh by the way……..did you know that during the shock and awe of Gulf War II Carnival Cruise Lines changed their menus to read “Freedom Fries” instead of “French Fries?”

This was a move supported by the guests and crew and me, of course.

Anyway, back to Disneyland back in Paris………We shouldn’t have gone because it turned out to be a weekend of sheer, raw, vomit-inducing, tortuous, soul- destroying horror.  As I mentioned earlier, I’d been to a Disney park before, in Florida, and I thought it was fun. The Americans, are good at grinning and smiling and hoping everyone has “a nice day” but this simply doesn’t translate in France.

Most of the staff I encountered had a Z in their name indicating that they were from Poland, Estonia and Russia and, my goodness, did they look pissed off. Rightly so. You spend your entire life in a Braveheart-style fight for your freedom as Poland did and when it comes you wind up in $5 costume playing Donald Duck music on a comedy trombone.

Actually, of all the things I hated about Disneyland Paris it was the music I hated most of all. You just can’t get away from it. Some of it is the boisterous, tuneless soundtrack from cartoons and some of it is the stuff you hear in those old Lassie movies.

Some might say it’s scientifically impossible for music to induce nausea, but I assure you it isn’t. Then there’s the food. This may be France but there are no delicate cheeses and George Blanc recipes here. We had pizzas that I swear to God were made from exactly the same material as the packaging they came in, and a block of spare ribs that was a completely perfect oblong.

Eventually, after two days, I found a man who wasn’t French and ridiculously rude. “I am Italian,” he said. “Good, you’ll understand. Is there anywhere in this whole place where we can find some food?” “Not really,” he replied.

It is truly bollocks. You have no sense that Paris is 20 minutes away. There’s nothing Euro at all about what began life as EuroDisney. The television in my hotel bedroom showed cartoon dogs and painted backdrops and families of beavers braving the first snows of winter. But there was no CNN, no rolling footage of tanks and you try buying a newspaper. There is no news in Disneyland either. Just sunshine, cardboard pizzas and pissed off tourists. I wanted to know what was happening in Iraq but Disney seemed to have decided that the real world had no place in their hotels.

I think it’s time to mention my fellow visitors. They were, slack-jawed, gum-chewing riffraff……………..most were British.

And there were tens of thousands of them. Even on a Monday afternoon in the middle of term, the queues for each “attraction” stretched in an intestinal snake for mile after interminable mile. You queue for an hour to spend 80 seconds on a pink, plastic Dumbo. You queue for a an ice cream that tastes of spare rib, and for the bigger rides you queue to buy a ticket to get in a queue.

You get the sense that no matter how many visitors turns up, the ticket machines will keep on taking the cash. And so long as the people at the back of the queues can never see the front, so long as they think the ride itself is just round the next corner, or just behind the next Estonian with a trombone, they’ll keep coming. Disneyland is a machine.

On the first day we didn’t go on a single ride until 1 pm. I can understand also why a lot of the parents I saw looked upset and angry. This was because most of the fast rides were out of bounds to everyone not Shaquille O’Neal.  The haunted house was so scary I fell a sleep …………if they wanted something to scare everyone they should have put up huge photos of me naked……….with a pink rose between my teeth.

Yes I am biased…………….but I am also someone who has tried it all…………theme parks and resorts and all I can say is this. Anyone who doesn’t take their family on a Carnival value for money, fun , safe cruise vacation that offers the best in entertainment for everyone night and day……………is absolutely bonkers.

Your friends
John, Heidi and The Thingy

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.